What is the ‘Metaverse’ and How Will It Affect the Future of Work?

Carolyne Njeri

What is the Metaverse and How Will It Affect the Future of Work?
In this era of the pandemic, the metaverse could offer a solution to the virtual work conundrum that has been facing companies as they transition to full-time remote work or try to augment their workforce with freelancers

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Technology is evolving, and it’s evolving rapidly. The newest addition on the block is the metaverse, which has been dubbed by many a technology expert as the “future of Web 3.0”.

If you’re reading this and hearing the word “metaverse” for the first time, you’re not alone. Although this concept has been around for decades now, featuring in films like Tron and Ready Player One, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is confined to just the world of fiction. Now people are logging onto their computers and immersing themselves into whole new worlds. Worlds where you can buy virtual property like the NYSE building for $23,000 or this Gucci bag that sold for $4,000, a price higher than its real-world value. 

In this era of the pandemic, the metaverse could offer a solution to the virtual work conundrum that has been facing companies as they transition to full-time remote work or try to augment their workforce with freelancers. In this new space, freelancers, employers and their clients can work within a centralized digital environment, where they’ll be able to communicate, collaborate and share experiences that mimic real-life interactions without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes. This digital environment, if widely adopted, could change the way we work completely, removing the need for business travel, in-person meetings and maybe even make physical offices obsolete.

What exactly is the Metaverse?

According to Forbes, the metaverse is “a convergence of our physical and digital lives that is being brought on by advancements in internet connectivity, AR/VR and blockchain”, while The Conversation calls it “a network of always-on-virtual environments in which many people can interact with one another and digital objects while operating virtual representations”. 

The definition changes from expert to expert but the essence is the same; the metaverse is where the real and the virtual mix seamlessly in a controlled digital environment.

Coined from a blend of the words “meta” meaning transcendent and “verse” from universe, this new technology will usher in the new age of the internet. This is why Mark Zuckerberg is ready to include Facebook in the metaverse conversation, hoping that in the next five years, it will evolve from a social media platform to a full-on immersive metaverse experience, which will include 3D virtual and augmented realities for both work and entertainment.

If you played the early 2000s game Second Life, you may have an inkling as to what the metaverse is about. In the game, players create avatars to their liking, buy and sell assets and have experiences as they would in real life. But unlike games with objectives, the aim of Second Life is to create a social and collaborative life. The users rely on the low-code or no-code software capabilities to create content and products that can be sold to other users, something that has been replicated by new-comer games such as Minecraft and Fortnite.

Remote Work in the Metaverse

In the age of Coronavirus, where isolation and social distancing are the order of the day, having a technology that replicates real-life interactions could be a game-changer. As companies work remotely, relying on virtual tools to run their day-to-day, (sometimes not as effectively as they’d hope), the metaverse could be the much-needed solution to their daily problems. 

The Daily Star reports that, “The idea of the metaverse could extend much further than what we know now, allowing us to move to digital environments that feel real.” The site goes on to detail Zuckerberg’s excitement about bringing together coworkers in a virtual space that makes them feel like they are face-to-face.

The use of VR/AR technology in remote business has been growing at an accelerated rate especially since the outbreak of the pandemic. But metaverse developers want to kick things up a notch in a futuristic, utopian kind of way. Imagine a scenario where you can dorn your smart glasses and travel into a world where your avatar and those of other users can interact, experience the same sights and sounds, and engage in all activities that you would in an in-person meeting without ever having to meet physically? Your virtual assistant reads out your emails, helps you plan out your day and even gives you directions to your client meetings all within a life-like, idealized digital environment.

But this technology isn’t as far off as you’d think. Recently, an event to discuss the future of work in the metaverse was held entirely in the virtual world of Virbela Open Campus. According to the speakers at the conference, the metaverse could provide an alternative to video and chat, helping to ease the Zoom fatigue that plagues many employees as they work remotely.

How are brands making money in the Metaverse?

As a new way of making money on the internet, it shouldn’t surprise you that many tech companies are dropping billions of dollars into metaverse development. Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite for instance, is reported to have dropped $1 billion in supporting their vision for the multiverse. Facebook, with its VR subsidiary Oculus, is looking to produce “less clunky” hardware at affordable prices in the future to encourage many users to engage in their metaverse. But, their target source of profits isn’t the hardware, it’s in the advertising, which will most likely take over Web 3.0 like it has our current internet.

But aside from tech companies building metaverse real estate, some brands are already making use of it to sell their products virtually. This article by Vogue Business shows how a number of luxury fashion brands have begun putting systems in place to sell their pieces in the metaverse. Just last month, Dolce and Gabbana announced that they were launching an NFT (non-fungible token) collection, joining others like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Burberry. NFTs are units of blockchain data that are not mutually interchangeable associated with digital art, music, etc which can be sold or traded.

This craze isn’t limited to high end brands alone. More players are dipping their feet into the world of NFTs, using them to tell their brand stories in a bid to drive up sales. Taco Bell recently auctioned 25 NFT GIFs that were bought within 30 minutes, with one going for over $3,500. But that sounds like nothing compared to what Grimes, a musical artist, made selling 10 digital pieces- 6 million dollars in under 20 minutes.

So for businesses looking to step outside conventional brand communication, moving to the metaverse is the next big step. And since it has already been called the future of the internet, it won’t hurt getting a jump on things before your competitors do. Disruptive entrepreneurship is always in style, and staying ahead of trends is how businesses build lasting impressions that keep audiences consistently engaged.

Freelancing in the Metaverse

Like in any other space, there is plenty of room in the metaverse for freelancers to flourish. If you’re looking to build your own immersive environments or develop NFTs for sale, you’ll need to leverage the skills of seasoned freelance software developers. If you want to create marketing content, build character storylines and engage with your audience in this new reality, freelance content creators will be the way to go.

In this rapidly changing environment, freelancers are quick to adapt, are always on the forefront of innovation and will without a doubt help to realign your business goals in a way that stays relevant to the times.

At Ureed.com, we value innovative technologies, which is why we have put state-of-the-art processes in place to source and vet top-rated freelancers in every industry. Contact Ureed.com now to learn more about our online recruitment solutions for businesses and enterprises.

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